By NICK IZZO
LeMar’s Night Club will probably stay in the same location, regardless of the constitutionality of the city council ordinance that bans sexually oriented businesses from operating in downtown Provo.
Andrew Mccullough, LeMar’s attorney, said he doesn’t think LeMar’s is going to relocate.
“If, by law, he is forced to give up the dancers in order to stay in the same location, he will,” McCullough said.
The ordinance also requests, along with the relocation of LeMar’s to the East Bay business district, the ban of serving alcohol and additional covering of the dancers from “pasties” into bathing suits.
Judge Howard Maetani, from the fourth district court, denied LeMar’s request for a preliminary injunction, which declared that the re-enacted SOB ordinance violates Utah law.
McCullough also feels that LeMar’s will not have to relocate.
“We will take this all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to,” McCullough said.
McCullough said entertainment is protected by the First Amendment and dancing is included as entertainment.
“We intend to file an appeal of the judges ruling on the injunction within the next few weeks,” McCullough said.
McCullough has made two arguments why LeMar’s should not have to relocate its sexually oriented business.
First, because the Mayor of Provo and some City Council members specifically targeted LeMar’s in bad faith and demonstrated illicit motives. The ordinance is content-based rather than content-neutral.
Second, McCullough argues that because LeMar’s was already doing business prior to Provo’s new ordinances, LeMar’s has a right to continue its business at its current location.
The city ordinance would force the night club to relocate their operations to the East Bay business district of Provo. Many business owners and residents of the East Bay area are unhappy with City Council’s decision on the forced relocation of the night club.
The issues at hand are not only important to those directly involved, but to the whole community, said David C. Dixon, Assistant City Attorney representing Provo throughout the trial.
Christy Belt, President of the Board of Trustees of the Peach Tree Home Owners Association, said she would be very upset if LeMars were to relocate to her area.
“This is a newly developed area with new homes, condos, and businesses. The relocation of LeMar’s would downgrade the property of home owners and businesses,” Belt said.
“Provo doesn’t need a place like that. I would rather have the night club stay downtown across from the police station.”
Harry McKinley, retired UVSC professor and resident of the Peach Tree Condominiums located near the East Bay district, said he, too, would be very disappointed.
Residents in the area are already planning an attack if the city ordinance is found constitutional and LeMar’s would relocate.
“In the past we as a community have banned together over other civil matters. We have voiced our objections and would do so again in a legal approach to fight the night club from coming to our community,” McKinley said.
“We need to get this case resolved as soon as possible,” Judge Maetani said. “I would just like to get this case to first base — a discovery of the true facts at hand — then we will move on to the official trail.
Lamar Driggs, owner and chairman of the Board of Trustees of LeMar’s Night Club, said it’s not an attention getting issue. The focus of our case is to defend our legal rights.
“Back in the late 1980’s there were dancers here at LeMar’s, and nobody seemed to care then,” said Jeff, a long-time customer at the night club.
A review hearing is scheduled for June 30 at 9 a.m. The first place trial setting has been set tentatively for January 25 and 26, 1999 at 10 a.m.